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Chinese Man Seeks $2.4 Million For Wrongful Death Sentence

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BEIJING: A Chinese man who was freed after six years on death row following a wrongful murder conviction is seeking $2.4 million in compensation, state-media said today, amid public anger over the country’s flawed legal system.

Nian Bin, a former food-stall owner who was convicted of poisoning two children and condemned to death in 2008, was finally freed after a court quashed his conviction in August.

His case went through multiple appeals, with lawyers arguing that the evidence against him was insufficient and saying police had tortured him to obtain a confession.

Nian on Thursday applied for $2.4 million in compensation from the government at a court in east China’s Fujian province which had upheld his death sentence three times, the China Daily reported citing his elder sister.

He also requested the court make a public apology through the media, it added.

“Eight years of life cannot be bought back with money,” the sister, Nian Jianlan said, referring to the entirety of her brother’s ordeal since his 2006 arrest.

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“We hope that by asking for compensation and an apology, the culprit judges can have more respect for life and the law,” she added.

Nian, 38, told a previous court hearing that police had hung him from a hook and beaten him until he confessed, reports said.

Acquittals in China’s Communist-controlled court system are extremely rare- 99.93 per cent of defendants in criminal cases were found guilty last year, according to official statistics.

The use of force to extract confessions remains widespread in the country and defendants often do not have effective defence in criminal trials, leading to regular miscarriages of justice.

China has occasionally exonerated wrongfully executed convicts after others came forward to confess their crimes, or in some cases because the supposed murder victim was later found alive.

China’s ruling Communist Party is attempting to reduce public anger over injustices by lessening the influence of local officials over some court cases, and reversing verdicts in some high-profile cases.

A Chinese man who was acquitted after being imprisoned for 16 years on a murder charge received state compensation of $256,000 this week, the China Daily said in a separate report.

Xu Hui was arrested in 1998 and convicted of murdering a 19-year-old woman in 2001 but a court in the Southern province of Guangdong ruled in September that there had been insufficient evidence, it said.

Earlier this month, a court in the northern region of Inner Mongolia declared innocent Hugjiltu, who had been executed at age 18 in 1996 for murder and rape. Doubt was cast on the original verdict when another man confessed to the crime in 2005.

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